What are the top 10 shares bought by global fund managers?

Rio Tinto, British American Tobacco and AstraZeneca top the list, but which other shares are global fund managers buying for their portfolios?

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Source: Getty Images

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

Share trading continues to hit record highs in 2022 with £127 billion of shares changing hands on the London Stock Exchange in March alone. Investors have started to reposition their portfolios after the long bull run in technology shares finally came to an end. Stock markets have also been hit by the rise in interest rates to combat inflation, currently at its highest level in 30 years, and the geopolitical uncertainty.

However, there are still opportunities for investors. John Husselbee from Liontrust Asset Management comments that “In a reflationary environment, we expect the rest of the world to outperform the US equity market, value stocks to outperform growth and small caps to outperform large.”

Let’s see what we can learn from the shares professional fund managers are currently buying for their portfolios.


What are the most popular global shares picked by fund managers?

According to Trustnet, these are the shares most purchased by global funds in the last three months (to February 2022).


Company & ticker

HQ & sector


Rio Tinto (RIO)

UK, Mining


British American Tobacco (BATS)

UK, Tobacco


AstraZeneca (AZN)

UK, Pharmaceuticals


Glencore (GLEN)

UK/Switzerland, Mining


UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

US, Healthcare



UK, Banking


Anglo American (AAL)

UK, Mining


HSBC European Index (C Acc)

Index fund


Mastercard (MA)

US, Banking


KDDI Corporation (KDDIY)

Japan, Telecoms

Eve Maddock-Jones from Trustnet comments that “Hardly any growth stocks were present on the list as the style of investing has given way to value during the heightened periods of inflation and interest rates.” She adds that this “tends to favour more value, cyclical sectors, such as financials, mining and energy.”

Although most of these companies operate internationally, it’s interesting to see the dominance of UK-headquartered companies. Mislav Matejka from JPMorgan Asset Management highlights that UK equities have lagged behind the US by 50% and the Eurozone by 24% since the Brexit referendum. After years of caution, JPMorgan has upgraded UK shares to ‘overweight’, saying they are now trading ‘at a record discount’.

Let’s take a closer look at the three most-bought shares.


1. Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is the second-largest global metals and mining company, behind BHP. The Anglo-Australian company recently reported bumper results, with a 72% increase in underlying earnings. Its results were boosted by higher iron ore prices and a post-pandemic recovery in demand from China.

Rio Tinto also paid record dividends in 2021, with an average dividend yield of over 10%. It’s currently trading on a relatively modest price-to-earnings ratio of 6.1, compared to 17.5 for Glencore and 11.4 for BHP.

According to Sharecast, recent 12-month share price forecasts from analysts range from a low of 5,300p to a high of 6,460p. With a current share price of just under 6,000p, there seems to be downside risk as well as upside potential.

2. British American Tobacco

British American Tobacco (BAT) is one of the largest global tobacco companies, selling its products in over 180 countries. It’s delivered modest but consistent growth in revenue and earnings over the last five years. While demand for traditional cigarettes is falling, BAT achieved 50% revenue growth in its vaping products in 2021.

BAT recently announced a £2 billion share buyback programme due to the cash-generative nature of its business. However, Neil Wilson, analyst at Markets.com, commented that “You worry that buybacks are just a screen for a lack of strategy.”

Tobacco shares are seen as a good hedge against inflation. Trading platform IG points out that “Their customers are likely to continue smoking, no matter the price hikes or pressure on their pockets.”

MarketBeat reports that the most recent brokers’ share price targets range from a low of 3,100p to a high of 4,200p. BAT is currently trading at 3,200p, suggesting that there’s more upside than downside potential. However, BAT will continue to face increased regulation and a lack of appetite from ESG funds and investors.

3. AstraZeneca

Despite being at the forefront of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, AstraZeneca’s share price has been relatively lacklustre over the last three years. Hargreaves Lansdown commented that the company’s “promise to sell the vaccine at cost ‘during the pandemic’ means it’s padded revenue but not profits.”

However, there are more positive indicators for 2022. The acquisition of Alexion adds the capability of treatments for rare diseases. This market is less competitive and potentially more lucrative than major diseases. There are also encouraging signs for AstraZeneca’s treatments for lung cancer, asthma and juvenile rare blood disorders.

The company’s share price has risen by 40% in the last 12 months to its current price of just over 10,000p. According to MarketBeat, recent broker forecasts range from 10,000p to 11,500p, suggesting modest upside potential over the next year.

What else should you know about trading shares?

Fees for share trading can vary significantly among brokers. To save you time and money, our experts have compiled a comparison of our top-rated share dealing accounts.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

More on Personal Finance

Note paper with question mark on orange background
Personal Finance

Should you invest your ISA in a model portfolio?

Which model ISA portfolios offer both high performance and low fees? Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and AJ Bell go under…

Read more »

Economic Uncertainty Ahead Sign With Stormy Background
Personal Finance

Is it time to exit emerging markets investments?

Investors may well be sitting on losses from emerging markets funds. Is it worth keeping the faith for a sustained…

Read more »

Personal Finance

Share trading? Three shares with turnaround potential

Share trading has been difficult in 2022, but which companies have turnaround potential? Jo Groves takes a closer look at…

Read more »

Man using credit card and smartphone for purchasing goods online.
Personal Finance

Revealed! Why Gen Z may be the savviest generation when it comes to credit cards

New research reveals that Gen Z may be the most astute when it comes to credit cards. But why? And…

Read more »

Environmental technology concept.
Personal Finance

The 10 best-performing sectors for ISA investors

The best-performing sectors over the past year invested in real assets such as infrastructure, but is this trend set to…

Read more »

Road sign warning of a risk ahead
Personal Finance

Recession risk ‘on the rise’: is it time for investors to worry?

A major global bank has suggested the risk of a recession in the UK is 'on the rise'. So, should…

Read more »

pensive bearded business man sitting on chair looking out of the window
Personal Finance

1 in 4 cutting back on investments amid cost of living crisis

New research shows one in four investors have cut back on their investing contributions to cope with the rising cost…

Read more »

Image of person checking their shares portfolio on mobile phone and computer
Personal Finance

The 10 most popular stocks among UK investors so far this year

As the new tax year kicks off, here's a look at some of the most popular stocks among UK investors…

Read more »